That’s what an aunt said to my Mom, once.
The baby was me. I really looked like a shark, BTW, or a squid depending on what side you would look at.
But even if I was an ugly baby, what kind of person would say something like that to a young mother?
I got the answer later in my life: people who act like that are called TOXIC people.
The bad news is that most people are potentially toxic and you can’t do anything to change that.
The good news is that you don’t have to take their crap.
In this post, I’ll share efficient tips on how to get rid of people who like to hurt others.
Identify the symptoms
We often expect people to behave with us in a neutral way, we don’t assume them having bad intentions.
Maybe it’s time to wake up, because some people DO have creepy mentalities. To be safe, you want to be aware of them, you don’t need to become paranoid, though!
Here’s a test to help you know if you’re dealing with a toxic person:
- The person has already lied to you or has manipulated information
- The person puts you down regularly
- The presence of the person always collapses your self esteem
If these three elements are gathered, don’t waste time: take off.
Just stay away from them.
Are you afraid of making a mistake and wrongly exclude someone?
Don’t worry, if that’s a nice person, she’ll prove it to you in the long run and it’ll still be time to open up.
If you suspect them to be harmful it’s clearly a wise choice to switch sidewalk when you see them coming.
Strengthen your immune system
Toxic people are like viruses. If your immune system is weak, they will harm you.
In that biologic metaphor, self Esteem is the immune system of your mind. It’s what protects your mind against bullying and others psychological abuse.
Most people can’t hurt your feelings if your self esteem is well fed.
Let me clarify what I just said: having a strong self esteem means being conscious of your qualities, being confident about what you can offer as a human being.
To get rid of mental scavengers, you must own your self esteem. If you’re not the proprietary of what you think of yourself, you let others define it for you.
You can imagine what it means to give control of your image to somebody that’s jealous of you for instance, right?
Strengthening your self esteem is a piece of work but it’s really worth it, you can do it in many ways, the most secure and beneficial approach in the long run is to consult a psychologist or a good personal coach.
However, since it can take a while to beef up your own internal shield, here’s how to deal with Toxic people in the meantime:
Actually I titled this section badly since you can’t quarantine toxic individuals, you have to interact with them all the time: at work, in public areas or even in your own family (that’s a BUMMER, I know).
What you can do, however, is to avoid contact with them as a matter of personal hygiene.
Why? Simply because any interaction with nasty people will reinforce the worst part of you.
Maybe you don’t believe that, though. Ok, in the case you think you’re strong enough to mingle with screwed up folks and convert them into good Christians or humanists, I wish you good luck. There’s actually a really good section about that in an article called: how to deal with crappy people (last chapter) I can only recommend it to you.
On the other hand, if you lost any interest in wasting energy with evil people, it’s perfectly possible to shield yourself from their influence and save your energy for more important projects in your life.
To protect yourself from toxic people, apply the following rules:
- Don’t interact with them
- Don’t interact with them
- Don’t interact with them
That’s pretty straightforward, huh?
But really, that’s all there is to know.
To put it in a more fancy way: practice the Teflon Method.
Teflon is a material on which everything slides.
With nasty people, you should be slippery as egg white.
How to do that?
- by not feeding them any information on yourself
- by being boring, polite and extremely evasive
- by NEVER gossiping with them or about them
I learned that approach with the Tibetan monks I lived with. They are impossible to grasp if they decide not to give you information. They will never say no, but their yes will not get you anywhere. They grind your aggressivity down, chunk by chunk.
In short: a great approach with ill-intended people!
Oh, and do I need to say: don’t fight with toxic people, or you’ll loose, always.
Heal the wounds: practice compassion
compassion is your ultimate weapon with Toxic people. Compassion has many meanings, but I’ll chose the Buddhist sense of the word > more Buddhist brainwashing, right here ;)
In Buddhist terms, compassion means understanding the suffering of others and wishing to alleviate it.
In the context of harmful relationships, you need to be compassionate with yourself first, then consider the situation of your “enemy”.
It’s not always possible to understand f****d up mentalities, but the more you deepen your understanding, the more you can come to closure with the situation.
I invite you to try it, even if you hate the people who hurt you, try and understand what kind of disease makes them behave like that.
If you practice compassion in that context:
– You’ll be able to forgive faster
– You’ll become smarter (waaaay smarter)
I’m clearly with you on that forgiveness work and you’re likely to progress faster than me since I always have a really hard time forgiving!
Good luck with your your toxic fellows, let me know if that post helped you deal with these guys.